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DFEE 'breached data rules' says union

THE Department for Education and Employment has been reported to the data protection commissioner over its attempts to collect teachers' home addresses.

The National Union of Teachers has urged the DFEE to scrap the exercise and destroy any information it now has. It believes the department is breaking data protection regulations.

The DFEE says the addresses are needed by the General Teaching Council, to be established next year, and for pensions. But it also intends to send its publication, Teachers, to individual homes.

In a letter to Education Secretary David Blunkett, Doug McAvoy, general secretary, said: "Teachers should have been clearly told that information requested for pension purposes would be used for this and no other purpose. A similar point can be made about the collection of information for use for the GTC elections."

He said that as an independent organisation the GTC should organise its own database.

Mr Blunkett wrote to the union saying: "Teachers magazine is designed to be a source of useful tips and easy-to-use guide on where to get more information."

He said the DFEE had received 2,000 requests for extra copies after the first edition. A DFEE spokesman said the magazine costs 9p a copy to produce and 11p to distribute.

He said the DFEE believed it had complied with data protection registration. Addresses would be held securely and there would be no commercial exploitation.

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